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Xavier v. Georgetown: Q&A part 1

SBN Georgetown blog Casual Hoya explains both parts of their name, "mid-major" shots are fired, and we even talk a little bit about tomorrow's game.

Former Xavier commit D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera with the man who stole him.
Former Xavier commit D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera with the man who stole him.
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

What in the world is Hoya Saxa? And what is the site-wide (program-wide?) excitement about being casual?

Listen, I realize you guys are new to this Big East thing and apparently too lazy to use Wikipedia so I'll tell you this one time and one time only. ‘Hoya Saxa' is a chat we use which loosely translated from Latin means ‘What Rocks', which goes back to Georgetown's initial team name which was The Stonewalls. Get it? No? Well, neither does anyone else. Moving on...

About the 'casual' part of the question, if you have to ask what being casual is all about then you probably aren't all that casual. For a further explanation, see here.

Georgetown wasn't the deepest team to begin with, and now Josh Smith is out with obesity/academic problems and Jabril Trawick has a broken jaw. Meanwhile, guards DSR and Markel Starks are in the top 3% or so in the country in minutes; is this roster stretched beyond what it can handle right now?

In case you missed the highlights of the epic win against Butler, with all of Georgetown's big having fouled out the Hoyas played the entire overtime period with a squad featuring Smith-Rivera, Starks, former walk-on John Caprio, a freshman who made his 1st career start in Reggie Cameron and the mercurial Aaron Bowen. And we won! Ha! Eat it, Butler! But to your broader point, yes, the roster is certainly stretched thin with Josh Smith and Trawick out, so JT3 will have to spin his magic again and try to exploit whatever mismatches Georgetown may have against the Muskies. I'm too lazy to check your ‘top 3% in the country in minutes' assertion but I'll assume it's true, so if either of them get into foul trouble and are forced into prolonged periods on the pine, that's good news for you guys.

You guys beat a pretty respectable St. John's team by 17, then promptly went on the road to get your butts kicked by Providence and need OT to beat Butler. Does the team just not travel well, or are they simply really inconsistent?

Did you see the Butler game? We are ROAD WARRIORS. We have NEVER LOST at Hinkle Fieldhouse. EVER. The Providence game was awful, no doubt. The team got the news about Josh Smith just before tipoff, the offense was in disarray, Ed Cooley's hair was distracting, you name the excuse, I'll take it. To rebound against Butler with a win was big for the team and hopefully for its confidence on the road moving forward, as it was Georgetown's first true road win of the season.

When I saw you guys were thin on the inside, I was momentarily worried that you might go small, spread us out, and shoot us to death like Creighton. Instead, it kind of looks like only DSR can shoot the three at all. Am I off base here, or can Xavier pack the defense in, chase Smith-Rivera, and dare the rest of the team to shoot jumpers?

Though he has been a bit off of late, Markel Starks can shoot the three, so I dare you to leave him open. I also dare you to leave Reggie Cameron open, who struggled against Butler from deep (1-7) but is probably our best spot-up shooter from long-distance. Other than DSR, Starks and Cameron, the Hoyas are not a good jump-shooting team, so please don't relay your strategy to Chris Mack though I'm sure he reads your blog just like JT3 reads ours. Thanks.

I know you haven't played Creighton yet, but don't look forward to it. It's a nightmare. I know that's not a question, just some friendly advice.

Yeah I noticed you guys put on quite a scoring show the other night. I'd still like to see what Creighton does against a ‘real' Big East team. I mean, no offense, of course.

How does such a tall team (+2.1" in effective height, 48th) rebound so poorly (32% OReb%, 68% DReb%, 164th and 199th)?

What's with you and all these numbers? Look, I know Georgetown hasn't been that good this year and yes, we struggle at a lot of things and rebounding apparently is one of them. It's nice to have ‘effective height', but when the guys who are tall are somewhat ‘ineffective' in doing the things that tall players should be doing, that doesn't equate well to performing well in your precious rebounding categories. I don't need some asshat like Ken Pomeroy to tell me that much with his damn calculator.

Assuming Smith is still in academic limbo and Smith-Rivera is the top gun, who else should Xavier fans have on their radar going in?

DSR and Starks. That's pretty much all you need to worry about. If they both are somewhat ‘on' and manage to stay on the floor, they can make any game Georgetown plays in a competitive one. If they are off, however, and are forced to miss time due to foul trouble, this one won't be pretty as far as we go. If Georgetown's bigs Mikael Hopkins, Moses Ayegba and Nate Lubick can work the paint and control the glass, that would be a big plus for us and hopefully open up some thins on the perimeter for DSR or a lane or two for a streaking whirling dervish like Aaron Bowen.

What does JTIII do on defense that makes the team so effective, and how will he go about slowing down Semaj?

JT3 has done a good job mixing up man looks with zone matchups and I suspect Xavier will see a lot of that as well, especially when you have a player like Christon who can take over a game. The Hoyas did a great job neutralizing Andrew Wiggins by deploying a similar strategy at Kansas. We lost that game by like 50 points, but still.

We're relative Big East neophytes, while you guys have been around for a while. How does Xavier fit in? Will the Muskies be able to go the distance in contention for the conference title, or will the jump from the A-10 wear us down?

It's nice to have you aboard! While I still think of Xavier as a mid-major [ed. note: other teams recently considered mid-major by Hoya fans include 2008 Davidson, 2010 Ohio, 2011 Virginia Commonwealth, and 2013 Florida Gulf-Coast], I do think the Muskies program is a solid one and one that hopefully within the next few years can really make a leap on the national scene and help elevate the Big East. As to whether the Muskies can compete for the Conference title? Sure, why the hell not. Villanova aside (and frankly I don't think Nova is that good), the Big East is wide open and if X is able to hold serve at home and win a few road games y'all should be right there come March.

My research leads me to believe no Big East game will end in a tie this year. Who wins this game and why?

My inclination is that your research is again correct. On one hand I doubt the Hoyas can beat Xavier on its home floor without Josh Smith, Jabril Trawick and any semblance of an inside presence. On the other hand, we live in a world in which Matthew McConaghey won a Golden Globe for Best Actor. Final score: Hoyas 74 - Muskies 67.

Keep an eye peeled later in the day for our responses to their questions. In the meantime, visit Casual Hoya for all your Georgetown-related needs.